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Open AccessArticle

Experimental Evaluation of the Usability of Cartogram for Representation of GlobeLand30 Data

1, 1,2,*, 1,2 and 1
Faculty of Geosciences and Environmental Engineering and The State-Province Joint Engineering Laboratory of Spatial Information Technology for High-speed Railway Safety, Southwest Jiaotong University, Chengdu 610031, China
Department of Land Surveying and Geo-Informatics, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong, China
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Jun Chen, Songnian Li, Shu Peng and Wolfgang Kainz
ISPRS Int. J. Geo-Inf. 2017, 6(6), 180;
Received: 5 April 2017 / Revised: 14 June 2017 / Accepted: 17 June 2017 / Published: 21 June 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Analysis and Applications of Global Land Cover Data)
PDF [4833 KB, uploaded 21 June 2017]


GlobeLand30 is the world’s first global land cover dataset at 30 m resolution for two epochs, i.e., 2000 and 2010. On the official website, the data are represented by qualitative thematic maps which show the distribution of global land cover, and some proportional symbol maps which are quantitative representations of land cover data. However, researchers have also argued that the cartogram, a kind of value-by-area representation, has some advantages over these maps in some cases, while others doubt their usability because of the possible distortion in shape. This led us to conduct an experimental evaluation of the usability of the cartogram for the representation of GlobeLand30. This experimental evaluation is a comparative analysis between the cartogram and the proportional symbol map to examine which is more effective in various kinds of quantitative analyses. The results show that the thematic map is better than the cartogram for the representation of quantity (e.g., area size), but the cartogram performs better in the representation of tendency distribution and areas’ multiple relationships. The usability of the cartogram is notably affected by map projection and the irregularity in area shapes, but the equal-area projection does not necessarily perform better than equidistance projection, especially at high latitudes. View Full-Text
Keywords: cartogram; map usability; GlobeLand30; land cover data; proportional symbol maps cartogram; map usability; GlobeLand30; land cover data; proportional symbol maps

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Han, R.; Li, Z.; Ti, P.; Xu, Z. Experimental Evaluation of the Usability of Cartogram for Representation of GlobeLand30 Data. ISPRS Int. J. Geo-Inf. 2017, 6, 180.

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